If it’s worth speaking up about, Jameela probably has!
Jameela Jamil, ‘The Good Place’ actor, activist, and creator of the i_weigh community, is known for saying exactly what’s on her mind. Whether it’s about disability awareness, body positivity, women’s rights, or diversity (to name a few), Jameela’s doesn’t shy away from tackling them. And that’s why we love her!
While speaking up has earned the star her fair share of critics (she’s no stranger to a Twitter feud or two!), she manages to take it all in her stride. Here are five topics Jameela wasn’t afraid to speak up about…
“It’s time we start showing [people with a disability] in the light that is true to them, and let them write their own stories and lead their own charge in the world.”
Jameela was born with hearing loss, and at age nine she was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which affects the body’s connective tissues. She tells ‘Yahoo‘ that growing up in London, there was no one like her on TV. Or if there was, they were often the ‘tragic’ character, played by actors without a disability.
Sadly, things haven’t changed much, which is why Jameela is very vocal about seeing more people with a disability on our screens, telling their own amazing stories. This is something firmly support too! In fact, we wrote our very own blog about it. Check it out: TV characters putting disability in the spotlight.
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A post shared by Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil)
A post shared by Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil)
“Do it whenever you feel the time is right, as long as you think you’ll be safe… But feel no shame about getting it off your chest and know you aren’t alone.”
When Jameela was cast as a judge on the TV competition ‘Legendary’, inspired by LGBTQI+ ballroom culture, fans were furious. She was in a long-term relationship with James Blake and had no connection to the culture, they argued.
Jameela responded by coming out as Queer on Twitter (though regretted it almost immediately!). Rather than praise Jameela for her difficult personal confession, critics accused her attention seeking or even lying.
In an Instagram post, Jameela says she “chose the most inappropriate time” to come out, but hopes she paved the way for others to safely tell their stories. She adds, “There is a huge community of people who understand you, respect you and stand with you.”
“Often, we’re met not with sympathy, but doubt and mockery. That’s why it’s so important for me to stay loud and proud about it….”
Jameela is very open about her health issues – car crashes, an eating disorder, a breakdown, cervical cancer – she’s had more than her fair share! But many are dubious, and one writer even went as far as claiming Jameela has Munchausen syndrome (a mental disorder where a patient fakes illness to gain attention and sympathy).
Jameela tells ‘The Guardian’ that as a “slim and privileged” woman, she’s often met with mistrust and accused of faking her disability. Sadly, “You don’t look like you have a disability”, is a phrase the invisible disability community are all-too aware of. You can read more about it in our blog: 5 things about invisible disabilities you need to know
“Nobody matters, it’s only about how you feel about yourself and how Keanu Reeves would feel if he met you.”
We’re sure Keanu would be as impressed with Jameela’s advocacy for self-love as we are! Jameela often talks openly about her own mental health battles, including admitting she attempted suicide in her 20s.
Jameela says that nothing is more important to her now than her mental health, and tells ‘Yahoo’ her mantra is: “Anything you’d consider too awful to say to someone that you love and respect, you’re not allowed to say to yourself.” Great advice!
“This isn’t about embracing ‘flaws’ this is about enjoying our bodies at every stage. They’re the best friend we have. They’re our ride or die. They do all the dumb shit that we want even when they know they will feel worse for it in the morning.”
Both Jameela’s own Instagram and the i_weigh page are filled with messaging around body acceptance and female empowerment (take a dive and see for yourself), and this post about appreciating our body, no matter how ‘flawed’ we think it is, is one of our faves! See the whole post below:
If you need to talk to someone about your mental health or a crisis in your life, please consider calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, beyondblue on 1300 22 4636, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
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